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My friend introduced me to a program called Blender. I heard of it before but I never really bothered to look into it. He showed me a quick demonstration of the program and I was pretty impressed with it. So I looked into it a little. I have 1 major question after doing my research. When you make games in Blender, is it all through the Blender Game Engine? Or can I use files I create in Blender in C++? Oh and, I'm sure this question is better placed in blender forums but I thought I'll ask it here anyway. What's the best blender book for learning how to use it within games? I found a book with great reviews called Foundation Blender Compositing but both the reviews and the book introduction said something about being based on creating videos and video editing.

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Well, blender has a lot of export scripts so you can export to a lot of known file formats. Additionally you can program your own exporter in python. The latter is what I did. However I didn't go all the way exporting everything. I export objects/meshes/bone animation/frame animation textures and materials.

So it is up to you what you want. Blender is pretty impressive, the GUI a bit awkward but once you are used to it is an excellent modeler.

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Quote:

When you make games in Blender, is it all through the Blender Game Engine? Or can I use files I create in Blender in C++?


You can use the assets you create in Blender with your own game engine, you will need an exporter at the very least, depends on which engine you're using or if you're writting your own.

Quote:

What's the best blender book for learning how to use it within games?


Within? there is no within, you either use it as both content creation tool and game engine or just as a content creation tool, you don't embed or link Blender into your game the way you would OGRE for example.

Check the Blender Store Book Section, you may want to get the Blender Gamekit 2 or Essential Blender.

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Thanks for the quick replies. I think the GameKit2 book is just what I've been looking for. Aside from books, does anyone know any notable tutorials? I know there's thousands listed on the blender website but I want to know if there's any that you have read and really stood out to you.

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Well I've been using Blender since 2000 and have been importing models from it into XNA for the last year. Apart from a slightly annoying difference in axes between XNA and blender it works without a hitch. There's a special XNA .fbx exporter that helps when using animations in XNA.

As for using the models in C++ then I'd imagine the easiest thing to do would be export to .x or .fbx and make an importer for it into your engine.

The best way to learn blender is to learn the basics through a couple of tutorials to get the hang of the interface, look up a few generic modelling for games tutorials (how to keep the polycount low and so on) and then start making things in blender. The hardest thing will probably be UV unwrapping but once you get the hang of that and using the tools blender has it's pretty simple too.

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Original post by Zido_Z
Blender's interface scared the heck out of me. I'll get use to it with a few tutorials I hope.
The interface is of very Unix-y heritage, rather than the Apple/Microsoft interfaces we tend to be used to. This can make the program a little impenetrable at first blush, but rest assured, it is a very efficient interface once you learn the ropes.

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Original post by Zido_Z
Blender's interface scared the heck out of me. I'll get use to it with a few tutorials I hope.


It's pretty different (for no particular reason other than history)
I highly recommend trying Blender 2.5. They've ripped the guts out of it and built it up again with a brand new gui and it's much better for it.
You can try out beta builds at www.graphicall.org

A few hints.
I HIGHLY recommend going straight to the preferences and setting 'left mouse button select' - The right mouse thing is utterly pointless and inefficient and has no doubt put thousands of people off immediately.
'B' starts marquee mode (also silly to not have it the default drag action )
Tab sets edit mode
Set 'open on mouse over' and set delays to smallest
Middle mouse pan doesn't seem to work yet (should be default though, especially for the 4 pane 2d views)
You might want to bump up the manipulator size and hotspot range.

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Blender 2.5 should be out in October. This link is the official news link ...
Quote:

The first of the official 2.5 versions will be released in October, during the 8th annual Blender Conference in Amsterdam. The Blender team plans to give regular updates, with the 2.5 project to be completed with the Durian film premiere in 2nd quarter 2010.
News from the Blender Foundation is sounding all good [smile]

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Quote:
Original post by Octamed

A few hints.
I HIGHLY recommend going straight to the preferences and setting 'left mouse button select' - The right mouse thing is utterly pointless and inefficient and has no doubt put thousands of people off immediately.
'B' starts marquee mode (also silly to not have it the default drag action )
Set 'open on mouse over' and set delays to smallest
You might want to bump up the manipulator size and hotspot range.


These are matters of personal taste. In my case, for example, the defaults work very well.

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2.5 isn't out, but the test builds from graphicall.org are fully usable (but be VERY wary of doing anything serious yet)

"These are matters of personal taste. In my case, for example, the defaults work very well."
sure, once you get used to anything it becomes comfortable. I love things being different if it enhances workflow and efficiency. Some things in blender are great and slick (like the modeless splitable gui is so good). But the right mouse/left mouse thing forces you to click twice for everything, it's not consistent (eg manipulation tools don't do it), it doesn't provide any useful function over using one button and it's a fundamental function that every program in world has used since the dawn of the mouse. It's the one thing that isn't just personal preference because it is undoubtedly slower and less efficient. I think it stemmed from when blender didn't have an undo, so it was a way to abort the move if you wanted too. No need now.

All I'm suggesting is two options
a) set the default to left. Any blender users can simply set it back.
b) or, on first boot have a selector dialog with defaults for every major modelling app. So have nice big icons for Blender/Max/Maya/XSI etc and set the appropriate configuration file to what is closest. There, EVERYONE is happy :) Imagine how many more people that would encourage to swap? Artists like what they know and are extremely reluctant to learn a new app that doesn't appear on the surface to be much better. Blender 2.5 is super configurable, so the keys, mouse, even menu layouts can be pretty damn close to any modeler. But really, just keys and mouse would do fine as the other menus were a snap to learn and logically laid out.

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I don't agree with you on the left/right mouse button issue. Most people that have started modeling with Blender as their first program (effectively, most Blender users) are very comfortable with right-select, as it clearly separates "manipulation" from "selection". The foundation wants to cater to existing user base, since the developers are also existing users. That said, I think that the option to switch this behavior is very good, but I wouldn't change the default setting.

As for point B, I agree somewhat. I think that UI customization in Blender is going to be more prevalent after 2.5 because it allows very fast (as in fully dynamic) UI creation and testing. However, my opinion is that the UI customization work (to emulate other modelers) would flow better as a community project, rather than a Foundation one.

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Quote:
Original post by Nik02
I don't agree with you on the left/right mouse button issue. Most people that have started modeling with Blender as their first program (effectively, most Blender users) are very comfortable with right-select, as it clearly separates "manipulation" from "selection". The foundation wants to cater to existing user base, since the developers are also existing users. That said, I think that the option to switch this behavior is very good, but I wouldn't change the default setting.

As for point B, I agree somewhat. I think that UI customization in Blender is going to be more prevalent after 2.5 because it allows very fast (as in fully dynamic) UI creation and testing. However, my opinion is that the UI customization work (to emulate other modelers) would flow better as a community project, rather than a Foundation one.


Sure, fair points. I don't mind the defaults, but the main concern I have is people assume the defaults are it. The on load config selector would be very little work and would totally remove any confusion and misunderstanding. I for one never gave blender a chance because of this (at the time there was no option for it). Now that I'm testing 2.5 and setting the preferences to my own liking I like it a lot. I hope with a one time config selector other people will have a very smooth transition. You never know, some might even swap to blenders config and like it better :)

The default install is the only thing that matters in the long run. Having other nice configs won't do any good because people would have given up before even bothering to look for them (or even knowing it's possible). We're talking a very minimal amount of work, basically a key/mouse config file. Even making the preferences/configs files dialog pop up on load would be great. No need to make a custom funky looking version (although it would be nice ;) )
So really, it's all about personal preference and the understanding that everyone has their own and no amount of convincing will change their mind (clearly ;) )

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Original post by Nanoha
Blender was really awkward at first but after getting used to it, its wodnderful. I strongly recommend leaving everything on defaults.

I even use blender liek controls in some of my own things now.


Very awkward and somehow strangely habit forming. After less than 12 hours of using Blender I want to click and drag with my middle button now. Frustrating...

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That was you? All of that white text on a black background made my head hurt. I agree with most of what you wrote though. [lol]

I find Blender rather easy to use. I started a year ago making mods for the game Morrowind. The document, Blender: Noob to Pro , got me started and made the learning process go so much smoother. I'm now using it for all of the content of a game. The engine will be my own, but every 3D model is coming from Blender. I've used rather expensive programs with fewer features that were harder to use.

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Original post by maspeir
That was you? All of that white text on a black background made my head hurt. I agree with most of what you wrote though. [lol]


haha, yeah I took out the [code] block, makes a little easier on the eyes :)
Leave a message perhaps. Although I think blenderartists is where most discussion happens.
I editted the post a heap yesterday.

Quote:
Original post by maspeirI find Blender rather easy to use. I started a year ago making mods for the game Morrowind. The document, Blender: Noob to Pro , got me started and made the learning process go so much smoother.


That's the thing though, you shouldn't need a guide to do all the basics. I'm ham fisting my way through it to deliberately gauge what frustrations a REAL person would have and no, I don't like ANY 3d modellers (except maybe MudBox). I think they're lacking some fundamentals that existing artists/dev are just too used to the old ways and don't see it. That can only make the program better. Just remember, some people just LOOOVEE assembly code in notepad :D

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Yes, the interface is a little rough (understatement of the year!), but the program is so powerful that you'll soon forget your frustrations. Since the program is designed to be cross platform, their GUI makes sense. It is the same regardless of platform. Still, I wish they'd scrap it and use Window's GUI. It is one thing to need to learn a new program's features. What makes Blender so hard is first having to figure out the interface. However, once you get past the interface, you'll find that the features are rather intuitive (save for that silly right button, middle button, left button thingy).

Just as an aside... Who the heck has a middle mouse button? I cannot even find a mouse with a middle button! Seriously! [flaming] My mouse has a bunch of really tiny buttons that can be configured in various ways, but they require flexing my fingers in odd and anatomically incorrect positions to press.

This is a good discussion, but wouldn't it be better served in the Visual Arts forum?

[Edited by - maspeir on September 22, 2009 1:29:31 PM]

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Original post by maspeir
Just as an aside... Who the heck has a middle mouse button? I cannot even find a mouse with a middle button! Seriously!

On most mice with a scroll wheel, you can press the wheel to get it to act as a middle button.

I've always used 3-button mice. It originally started when I got a RISC-OS computer which had a GUI that relied on all three - and applications used them consistently.

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